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The Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago White Sox Sunday night, 4-2 to move into a tie with Chicago atop the AL Central.
Justin Verlander allowed a lead-off home run on the second pitch of the game to White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza, then slammed the door shut, allowing no more runs and striking out 11 in eight innings of work.
Verlander's dominance lasted 124 pitches with only four hits. The win improved the Detroit ace's record to 13-7 with a 2.73 ERA. Jose Valverde, who allowed one run in the ninth, picked up his 28th save of the season. For the White Sox, Chris Sale gets the loss, bringing his record to 15-6 with a 2.93 ERA.
Sale's lack of command forced him to work with base runners in each of the first four innings, however, he escaped the early innings unharmed. The Tigers finally reached the White Sox ace in the fifth with a game-tying, solo home run off the bat of Brennan Boesch, and then made him pay in the sixth, following a walk and base hit with a three-run Delmon Young home run to take a 4-1 lead. The three-run lead was all Verlander needed as the White Sox were helpless against the reigning Cy Young winner, eventually losing 4-2.
Both the Tigers and White Sox now stand at 72-61. They will face each other once more this season, a four-game set in Chicago beginning September 10.
Alejandro De Aza's leadoff home run off Justin Verlander stood as the game's only offense until Tigers' outfielder Brennan Boesch notched a solo home run of his own in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 1-1.
Verlander has settled down since the leadoff blast, allowing only two more hits while striking out eight. Chris Sale has allowed only one hit other than the Boesch homer, and although he has surrendered three walks, well-timed strikeouts and double plays have limited the Tigers' offense.
This contest weighs heavily on the postseason race the AL. The Tigers currently trail the White Sox by one game in the division and stand 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers will do battle on Sunday Night Baseball, with the Tigers looking to continue their climb to the top of the AL Central standings.
Justin Verlander gets the start for Detroit who is now just one game behind Chicago for first place. Here are the lineups for tonight's game.
Chicago White Sox
Dewayne Wise LF
Paul Konerko 1B
Alex Rios RF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Austin Jackson CF
Omar Infante 2B
Delmon Young LF
Avisail Garcia RF
Justin Verlander P
The Detroit Tigers are taking full advantage of this weekend's vital series with the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, winning the first two games and moving within one game of the division lead. The two teams could potentially be tied atop the standings after the final game of their series Sunday.
In the Wild Card race, the Tigers are four games behind the leading Oakland Athletics and two games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the second Wild Card spot. Oakland charged to a Wild Card lead behind their current eight-game winning streak. They stand only three games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers. The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are also in the Wild Card mix, and the New York Yankees are leading the AL East.
In the NL, the San Francisco Giants hold a 4.5-game lead over the Dodgers in the West. The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds each presently hold comfortable division leads, 6.5 and 8.5, respectively. The Pittsburgh Pirates are almost out of reach in the Central at 10 games back, but they find themselves very much in the Wild Card mix, only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals hold the two Wild Card spots as of today.
Click here for complete MLB standings.
With a win tonight over the Chicago White Sox, the Detroit Tigers would move into a tie for first place in the American League Central, and they have reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (12-7, 2.80 ERA) on the mound for them as they attempt to do it.
The White Sox will counter with their own ace, Chris Sale (15-5, 2.81 ERA), as they try to avoid a sweep.
Sale had one of his worst outings of the season in his last start against Detroit on July 21. He gave up 5 earned runs (tied for a season high), seven hits and four walks in seven innings in a 7-1 Chicago loss. Sale also took a loss to the Tigers in April.
Verlander pitched eight innings and struck out six in a Tigers win July 20. He is 13-10 with a 4.05 ERA in 26 career games against Chicago. He comes into this game off of his worst start in more than two seasons, allowing 8 earned runs in 5.2 innings in a lost to Kansas City last week.
The Tigers came away with a 5-1 victory against the White Sox on Saturday, taking control of this three-game series and inching closer to the top of the AL Central division standings.
Detroit is now two games behind Chicago for the division lead, so Sunday's rubber match will be huge for both teams.
The Tigers scored runs in the third, fifth, seventh and eighth innings.
Brennan Boesch hit an RBI triple in the third to get the Tigers on the board, then Miguel Cabrera plated Boesch with an RBI single to center field. Delmon Young added to Detroit's run total with a solo home run in the seventh inning after having scored a run in the fifth on right fielder Avisail Garcia's base hit.
The White Sox rallied in the ninth inning on Orlando Hudson's RBI triple, but it was too little, too late for the South Siders.
The Detroit Tigers try to make it two straight over the Chicago White Sox at 7:05 p.m. tonight and rookie outfielder Avisail Garcia, who was just called up on Friday, will make a start for the Tigers. He will play right field and bat eighth. Max Scherzer (14-6, 4.13 ERA) pitches for Detroit against Francisco Liriano (5-10, 5.06 ERA). Here are the lineups:
1. CF Austin Jackson (R)
2. DH Brennan Boesch (L)
3. 3B Miguel Cabrera (R)
4. 1B Prince Fielder (L)
5. LF Delmon Young (R)
6. SS Jhonny Peralta (R)
7. C Alex Avila (L)
8. RF Avisail Garcia (R)
9. 2B Omar Infante (R)
1. CF Dewayne Wise (L)
2. 3B Kevin Youkilis (R)
3. DH Adam Dunn (L)
4. 1B Paul Konerko (R)
5. RF Alex Rios (R)
6. C A.J. Pierzynski (L)
7. LF Dayan Viciedo (R)
8. SS Alexei Ramirez (R)
9. 2B Gordon Beckham (R)
Raburn, who was at one time the team's everyday second baseman, has struggled this season, hitting just .172 with one home run and 12 RBIs in 63 games.
Other players added to the roster are infielder/outfielder Don Kelly, infielder Danny Worth, relief pitcher Luis Marte and catcher Bryan Holaday. All five players have been with the Major League club at different times this season.
The Detroit Tigers have an opportunity to tie the Chicago White Sox at the top of the AL Central standings with a sweep this weekend in Detroit. They took the first step Friday, after Delmon Young's three-run double propelled his team to a 7-4 victory in the series opener.
Detroit (70-61) will start right-hander Max Scherzer (14-6, 4.13 ERA) Saturday in a game set for 7:05 p.m. He is 6-1 with a 2.75 ERA over his last eight starts.
The White Sox (72-59), losers of four of their last five games on this road trip, will throw left-hander Francisco Liriano (5-10, 5.06 ERA) against Detroit. He'll be particularly mindful of Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is 8-for-24 with two home runs and three doubles off Liriano in his career.
The series ends Sunday night when each team sends its ace to the mound, but these clubs will face each other again Sept. 10-13 in Chicago for a four-game set.
A bases-loaded double by Delmon Young in the seventh inning drove in three runs in a 4-4 game and helped the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 in the opening game of a three-game series Friday. Detroit closed to within two games of the first place White Sox with the win.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning after a two-run home run by Miguel Cabrera. The White Sox cut it to 2-1 in the second on a home run by A.J. Pierzynski. An RBI double by Andy Dirks in the second put the Tigers up 3-1 and an RBI groundout by Paul Konerko in the third cut the lead to 3-2. The White Sox tied it when Dewayne Wise was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fourth. Jhonny Peralta homered in the bottom of the fourth, but Konerko tied it at 4-4 with a sac fly in the fifth.
Chicago starter Jake Peavy (9-10, 3.28 ERA) took the loss. He gave up six earned runs in six innings. Jose Valverde picked up his 27th save after pitching a scoreless ninth.
After designating utility infielder Jeff Baker for assignment this afternoon to make room for outfielder Avisail Garcia, the Detroit Tigers have agreed to trade Baker to the Atlanta Braves, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com:
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 1, 2012
#Tigers announce they've traded Jeff Baker to Braves for PTBNL.
The Tigers acquired Baker from the Chicago Cubs in early August for a player to be named later. He played in 15 games for the Tigers, hitting .200 with no home runs and four RBIs.
In 55 games at Double-A Erie, Garcia was hitting .312 with six home runs and 22 RBIs. He also played at Single-A Lakeland this season, hitting .289 eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 67 games. The Tigers hope Garcia can boost the offense against left-handed pitching.
The Tigers, coming off an unexpected three-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, begin a pivotal three-game series against the White Sox at Comerica Park tonight.
Doug Fister (7-8, 3.67) will start for the Tigers. He's looking to bounce back after a rough outing in his last start against Baltimore Orioles, in which he gave up seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Jake Peavy, who has been stellar for the Sox this year, posting a 3.09 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 175 innings, will take the hill for the White Sox.
The Detroit Tigers are getting a head start on their Sept. 1 call-ups by adding Avisail Garcia and Al Alburquerque to their roster.
The Tigers have a big opportunity this weekend, as they host the division-leading Chicago White Sox for a three-game series at Comerica Park.
The Tigers are three games back in the AL Central standings, so a sweep would get the Tigers back at the top of the division. The rest of the division is in the rear-view mirror, as Kansas City is in third, but 13 games back of the White Sox.
As for the wildcard spots, the Tigers are also three games back there, but there are three teams ahead of Detroit. The Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles are tied for the wildcard lead, with the Tampa Bay Rays 1.5 games behind them.
Last season was Detroit's first division title since 1987.
Check out the full MLB standings at SI.com.
The Tigers host the White Sox this weekend with a chance to move into a first place tie.